Soundtracked: Joyce Manor’s ‘Cody’
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The dog’s paws tore up the grass as he pounced. The ball rolled to him and passed him and ended up in the brown dead grass at the end of the lawn. He howled at the ball once it stopped and nudged it with his nose and gnawed at it. The ball squished in his mouth between his teeth as he ran back. His feet slipped on the change from grass to wood and the ball shot out down the walk and bounced past his other toys. He yelped happily and chased it again as his tongue hung outside his mouth.
Exhausted, he crashed out after catching the ball and fraying its yellow fur. As he lay stretched out, his fur rose and fell with his breaths. The man sat watching him and looking into the grass where several toys sat pushed over, torn up, and shredded apart. He flashed back to when he was a kid and his hair was in his face on that morning. The puppy ran and jumped into him, fluffing his hair as they fell backwards into the couch. The puppy’s warm tongue licked across his face and he rolled over hugging the dog, laughing and smiling.
Angel In The Snow
The dog barked and barked. He lay down and patted his chest, trying to call the dog over. He stood at the edge of the grass, on the wood, and continued to bark. He finally jumped into the white slush and lifted his feet high with each step until he jumped onto the man’s leg. The man threw snow up into the air and watched it fall. The dog looked up into the sky, confused. He threw snow again and it rained down. As it fell, the dog playfully bit at his arm and tried to pin him into the snow.
Do You Really Want to Not Get Better?
His breaths grew more rapid and rapid and rapid. He shook himself awake. The man paced around the living room, avoiding the furniture in the dark that is softly lit from the moon, and muttering to himself over and over again.
“I don’t know if… Well, what about… If I leave in the morning I’ll make it there by the evening… But I don’t know if I want to go. They won’t miss me this time if I don’t show, right? What if traffic is bad? What if there’s no parking when I get there… Breathe. They won’t worry much again.”
Last You Heard Of Me
They walked down the sidewalk. The leash was wrapped around his arm in a spiral. The dog walked without a leash in front of him, his tongue hung out the front of his mouth. They passed a group in the street and the dog passed a woman so closely that his tail swishes her dress. He turned and followed them back in the other direction. They all stopped in the street and bent down to pet him as he licked their hands. He unwound the leash and the group continued walking. As they walked away, the dog watched the group disappear.
Make Me Dumb
He pounced on the waves rolling in. He tried to lap up the water as the waves rocked him around and matted his fur. Others chase sticks and bouncing balls across the sand that leave dimples as they roll. Kids pull sticks across the sand and mold large hills, carrying buckets. The adults stand at the edge of the water where it doesn’t touch their toes and throw rocks into it, or sit on towels or blankets waiting for the water to roll the rocks back.
As they walked away, the heat from the black drenched asphalt sunk into his paws.
Over Before It Began
He runs and plays with the pack of dogs bounding through the grass. His toy is ripped to cotton-strand shreds, sitting off to the side by the fence. One of the lone dogs sits across the park them, head down tearing at his toy. The pack run toward him, some of the dogs leaping, and he takes his toy and ambles away again, pushing his head back down to work on opening the hole created in the green fur-like body. They follow him and circle him with tongues out, panting, trying to join him with their group. They bay at him.
At home in the light from the table lamp, he sits reading. The dog sits across the room looking toward him. Next to the dog’s feet is his toy: a brown stuffed lion with a mustard colored mane. A series of white stitches work their way up its body and across its arms. Sections of the mane are matted down or ripped out. He paws at it and moves it closer to him before gently picking it up with his mouth. He walks to the man and paws at him, jumping up into his chest with the lion tucked into him.
He sat whimpering at the top in the dark. He could not see which step was in front of him. The man woke up from the sounds and stumbled out to see a fast wagging tail and bent body. He yawned.
“Can you make it down?”
The dog false-stepped down the first stair and pulled back up. The man’s eyes adjusted to the dark and he saw the matted fur halfway down the steps. He picked the toy up and gave it to the dog leaning forward trying to impatiently grab it. He closes the door behind him and the dog.
This Song is A Mess but So Am I
The dog jumped up and down on his front paws in front of the fence as he barked at the bird grooming itself on the fence. His thick voice carried into the street and echoed through the houses. The man stood on the deck and called to him. For the bird, the sound of his voice and the dog’s bark swirled together in a static stream of noise. The bird flew away and their voices quieted, only echoing.
The dog lay down on the grass, growled, and waited for the man to meet him. The man petted his head. “He’s gone.”